US warship collision exposes Singapore-Malaysia sea dispute

Kuala Lumpur - A collision between a US warship and an oil tanker near the Straits of Malacca on Monday has shone a light on a territorial dispute that has simmered between neighbours Singapore and Malaysia for nearly 40 years. The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with merchant vessel Alnic MC to the east of Singapore, while heading to the city-state for a routine port call. Ten US sailors are missing and five were injured in the collision, which resulted in significant damage to the hull of the US vessel and the flooding of some of its compartments. Singapore and Malaysia both said the incident took place in their territorial waters, as the warship and oil tanker collided near the rocky outcrop of Pedra Branca, an area that has long been contested by both countries. Both countries said they were leading the search and rescue operation for the missing sailors. Singapore was once part of Malaysia but they separated acrimoniously in 1965, clouding diplomatic and economic dealings for years. The International Court of Justice ruled in 2008 that Pedra Branca, which means "white rock" in Portuguese, belonged to Singapore and a nearby feature called Middle Rocks belonged to Malaysia. Malaysia sought a review of the ruling this year, reopening the dispute. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said it was notified just before dawn of the collision in "Singapore territorial waters" in the Singapore Strait, and Singapore was leading the search and rescue operations. Malaysia insisted that the incident happened in its waters, just miles off its southern state of Johor. Malaysia's navy chief, Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, told Reuters the KD Handalan was the first to respond to the distress call from the US ship. "KD Handalan was just three miles from the USS McCain when it first received the distress call," he said. Malaysia's Maritime Enforcement Agency Director General Zulkifili Abu Bakar told reporters Malaysia disputed Singapore's assertion that the accident happened in its waters. He said the Malaysian search and rescue operation was independent of Singapore's and Malaysia had not communicated with its neighbour about the incident. "What is important is, we do not want to have another collision between assets on the ground," Zulkifili said. "For the time being, we shouldn't be arguing about whose waters it is, the most important thing is to focus on search and rescue." The Malaysian navy assigned four vessels and a Super Lynx helicopter for the search and rescue, while the Malaysian armed forces and maritime authorities also deployed more assets. The Indonesian navy said it had deployed two warships. The US Navy said Singapore and US assets were involved in search and rescue. It said in a statement late on Monday that Malaysian navy vessels and a helicopter had joined the search in the afternoon and Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, thanked Malaysia for its "great support".

Osaka guesthouse, which slammed trio for defecation incident, lifts its ban on Malaysians

Screenshot of viral video of Malaysian youth assaulting home-stay employee
Bideo Thorbaek Youtube Channel
Hooliganism on the part of three Malaysian youth in a popular lodge in Osaka almost led to the banning of all Malaysians from the home-stay. However, following a multitude of comments from Malaysian netizens apologising for the behavior of the guests, the owner recanted the ban, saying: “I spoke to my partner about this issue and as Muslims we know we should not hold on to grudges against others," Free Malaysia Today reported. The three young men responsible for acts of vandalism, defecating in the shower, and threatening employees, were identified by New Straits Times as Ramadhan Sinclair, Hidayat Kamal and Ahmad Faris. A video showing them the verbally abusing and threatening to harm the lodge’s caretakers has since gone viral. When ordered to pay for the damages caused, they pressured the staff to fork out the 130,000 yen (RM 5,110) that was meant to be paid. “They forced my staff to lie to me and said that they were the ones who paid”, the owners was quoted as saying. Although appalled by their actions, Parent Action Group for Education founder Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim believes that the incident is an isolated one, and that not all Malaysians should be punished for the actions of the three. Meanwhile, Malaysian netizens who commented on the Facebook post not only apologised for the unacceptable behaviour the owners had to endure, but also complimented the great service provided by the lodge's staff. Taking into consideration the inconvenience that many of their guests who had already made reservations would have to endure, together with the public outcry in response to the unacceptable behavior, the owners decided not to go ahead with the ban. However, as there have been unpleasant encounters with other Malaysian guests in the past, the owners are growing weary, and future guests from Malaysia will be walking on thin ice. While the owners have called off the ban, they have asked for a public apology from the three Malaysians to their country for the poor behavior, and have also lodged a police report. The New Straits Times reported that to date, only one of the three has made an apology, while another took to making cynical remarks online, and refusing to take responsibility.

What's Happening

Malaysia apologises to Indonesia over flag blunder at regional games

Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta - Malaysia has apologised to Indonesia over the upside down printing of the Indonesian flag in a souvenir guidebook handed out at the opening of the Southeast Asian Games. The mistake, spotted at the opening of the games in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday sparked an outcry in Indonesia and the hashtag #ShameonyouMalaysia was trending on social media. Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, the incident concerned "national pride", and had called for an apology. Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi also expressed dismay, posting pictures of the mistake on his Twitter account. "It was a good opening ceremony but spoiled by this fatal negligence that was very painful," he said. His Malaysian counterpart, Khairy Jamaluddin, tweeted an apology. "There was no malice intended," Khairy said. Khairy was expected to meet Indonesia's delegation to formally apologise on Sunday. Indonesia's flag has two horizontal bands with red on the top and white underneath. Turning it upside down, makes it look like Poland's flag. The Malaysian Organising Committee also apologised saying it had been "an inadvertent error". The flag blunder was the latest in a series of embarrassing incidents at the regional sports meet. Last week, a bus driver ferrying the Myanmar women's football team was arrested on suspicion of stealing a watch and for not possessing a driver's license.

US-backed Kurds release another video of their forces striking a Turkish vehicle

Tensions between the two sides continue to escalate.

Photographs appear to show the Barcelona attacker calmly walking away from the massacre

CCTV images of a man walking past La Bouqeria, a market just off of the site of the attack, Las Ramblas, were published by the Spanish newspaper El País.

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Shanghai Tang founder sends out party invites after being given 2 months to live: Report

Screengrab from BBC Hardtalk Youtube Channel
The billionaire founder of fashion label Shanghai Tang is throwing a party for his friends after being told that he has only "a month or two to last", The Asia Times has reported. According to the report, doctors had told 63-year-old Sir David Tang that he would have just a couple of months left to live, but instead of getting sufficient rest, Tang decided to welcome death by sending out invitations for a final farewell party. In the peculiar party invitation sent to his friends, Tang promised to throw a great party, writing: “As I have been given by my politburo of medical experts just a month or two to last, I thought the best way to go would be to give a party where we can see each other at least one time more, rather than at a memorial service where I shall be dead as a dodo.” The flamboyant businessman, socialite and cigar connoisseur, is the grandson of Tang Shiu Kin, one of Hong Kong’s most famous philanthropists. Tang is best known for his contribution to Shanghai Tang - making it one of the first Chinese labels to break the global boundary. Being a recipient of knighthood in 2008, Tang has had the privilege of dancing with Queen Elizabeth. He is friends with celebrities like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, and was also close friends with Princess Diana when she was alive. Through the years, the Hong Kong-born billionaire has managed to forge admirable relationships with foreigners interested in Eastern culture, through his shuttling between Hong Kong, London, and mainland China - further strengthening his personal brand name. In fact, his accomplishments are more than ample. With his weekly column in the Financial Times called “ Agony Uncle”, Tang shared his personal experiences with the world - including how the National Health Service (NHS) saved his life. The billionaire is also the man responsible for the distribution of all Cuban cigars in the Asia Pacific region, the starting up of The China Club brand in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, and the China Tang restaurant at the Dorchester Hotel. Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily reported last week that when contacted, Tang declined to comment and did not deny or confirm the news.

Olympic champion Schooling apologises to Malaysians

Kuala Lumpur - Singapore's Olympic champion Joseph Schooling has apologised to Malaysians for saying he was going to teach their swimmers a lesson at the South East Asian Games, which opened on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur. The 22-year-old, who won the city-state's first Olympic gold in the 100 metres butterfly in Rio last year, had told local media it would be "nice to go to Malaysia's backyard and teach them a thing or two". "If I offended anyone, I do apologise... that wasn't my intention," Schooling said on his arrival in the Malaysian capital on Saturday. "I'm really sorry for my comments and I definitely didn't mean it that way." Schooling won nine gold medals at the last SEA Games in Singapore two years ago but will race in fewer events this year. "I'll do my best in all of them. I'm just going to do my best and let the outcome speak for itself. We have two days to prepare so hopefully we'll put on a good performance in the Games," he added. "It's definitely not like training for me. Every race, my dad likes to say race fast, and that actually holds a lot of ground. There are a lot of great swimmers in the South East Asian region so I gotta be the best as I can to make my country proud." The 29th version of the biennial SEA Games will continue until Aug 30.

Emmanuel Macron’s only flaw is that he’s 25 years younger than me, says his wife Brigitte

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Selangor is still not signing anti-corruption pledge, claiming to have better approach

Selangor executive councilor Datuk Iskandar Abdul Samad is pictured above
Iskandar Abdul Samad
Selangor executive councilor Datuk Iskandar Abdul Samad has confirmed Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner’s disbelief - Selangor will remain as the only state government that has not embraced the anti-corruption pledge. Iskandar asserts that Selangor has more effective methods of preventing corruption in place, and believes that these efforts are “better than such a pledge”, The Star reports. According to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), to combat corruption, the Selangor government has made it mandatory for all state executive council members and state government subsidiaries to pledge that they have no conflicts of interest at council meetings. Despite Selangor’s decision to abstain from the anti-corruption pledge, Selangor's Chief Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali maintains that Selangor supports the MACC’s efforts to combat corruption. On Thursday, MACC's Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad said he had read about Selangor's refusal to sign the pledge. When asked to comment on the matter, his response was simply: “My comment is, I am speechless".